Easytech: growing success with SMEs, mid-caps and startups

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Elvir Mujic, Minalogic Director at St-Etienne & co-director of the Technology dissemination program at Nanoelec, in charge of the Easytech initiative

Established in 2012, the Nanoelec/Easytech initiative provides global support for SMEs and mid-caps in their innovation process (creativity, expertise, R&D project). It is run by Minalogic, a competitive cluster for digital technologies, supported by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and local authorities. Elvir Mujic (Minalogic) is co-director of the Technology Dissemination program, in charge of the Easytech initiative.

You are taking charge of the program in 2021. What has Easytech achieved so far?

Under the leadership of Damien Cohen between 2014 and 2020, Easytech attracted an increasing number of companies. It offers a simple and easy fast-track to innovation projects. It is seen as such by the managers of small companies, as well as startups, who do not necessarily have large R&D departments to assess the pertinence of what is available. 281 Easytech projects have been sponsored with more than 200 companies since 2012.

What are the profiles of the companies you target?

We deal primarily with SMEs, a few mid-caps and a few large companies. Most of these companies are in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Their core business is usually electronics but also sometimes maintenance and mechanics, instrumentation or materials. Their applications markets are highly diversified, ranging from space to health, to new modes of mobility, construction, sport or the agriculture+food industry.

What motivates you in working with SMEs?

Being able to help SMEs carry out their innovative project is highly stimulating! The diversity of subjects, topics and technologies used is impressive and intellectually energizing. Moreover, without this support, many projects would not see the light of day, or would not have gone so fast or so far. Feeling useful day after day, that’s motivating!

What is the contribution of local authorities?

Like all IRTs, Nanoelec’s mainfocus is not solely thematic, but also regional. This is why the local authorities top up funding for the Easytech projects. This helps bring down the financial risk for the local companies that innovate with us. First of all, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region contributes at a level of 20% to the labelled projects localized in its territory. Moreover, local authorities (mainly cities and urban areas) can add 10% for projects for SMEs based in their district. This is the case with Grenoble Alpes Métropole, Valence Romans Agglomération, Saint Etienne Métropole, Thonon Agglomération, La communauté du Pays Voironnais, Annemasse Agglomération, Clermont Auvergne Métropole. More than one quarter of our projects are also carried out with companies in other regions of France.

Discover Easytech and Nanoelec/Dissemination Program at a glance.